A MEDITATION ON JOHN 21:1-14
Without you, Jesus, we toil all night,
laboring and working, and bring in nothing,
our nets empty and we ourselves, exhausted.
But at a simple word from you
we lower the nets, and the catch,
the catch is too much to pull in.
What is the meaning of this reality,
this lesson that, in silence, you teach?
The beloved disciple understands,
for he says, the moment of the catch:
It is the Lord.
And Peter, too, then understands,
for he leaps into the sea to come to you.
How true is it for us, dear Jesus,
that in our contemporary world,
in this culture in which we live,
we are working day by day
within the night.
We work with earnestness,
toiling away at so many things,
but our very efforts have become so hollow,
for in this we seek not the kingdom of God,
but so often the kingdom of man, of this world…
human respect, esteem, material prosperity,
a sense of identity gained through human activity,
or even a flight into “movement”
that distracts us from the greater emptiness
that lies within us, or which creeps upon our vision
in those rare moments of silence and solitude.
A culture without roots…
for we have forgotten our past,
and therefore also our future.
The present moment has become
something isolated and estranged,
formless and without substance.
But roots means more than just any past,
and the future is more than just any future…
for this very loss of roots comes
from the collapse of our narrow ideas.
And this collapse can signal anew
an invitation to grace and transformation.
For what, indeed, is “the pursuit of happiness”
when it does not spring from the Gospel soil,
when it is not enveloped from beginning to end
in the all-enveloping Circle of Eternal Love
and the pure grace of Redemption?
This grace has bathed the whole world in light
and has made Beatitude present in the flesh.
Now the poor, the mourning, the meek and humble
bear in their heart and bodies the gift of eternal life.
Possessing nothing, they have all things,
and having nothing, they make many rich.
But we have forgotten all of this,
and now we bear our lives, not as a gift,
a gift flowing unceasingly from your loving hand
and from that Crucified and Risen Heart
which has opened itself, holding us deep within.
This darkness of forgetfulness
makes us feel the need to create from within
what comes only as a gift from without,
and to find security or purpose, even identity,
in a place where it is not to be found.
All of our existence came in the beginning,
and is meant to come at every moment
—ah, and indeed it does!—
as a gift from you, and within your Love.
But how many do not see, do not live this!
There must first be a recognition of our powerlessness,
the throwing up of our hands in neediness…
indeed, admitting that the depression and anxiety,
the deep sadness enveloping us
in the midst of all our activity, our striving,
and our pursuit of pleasure and excitement—
admitting that this is a symptom of our poverty
in the midst of a land of great wealth,
a sign of hearts that are suffocating with “things”
and have forgotten that the true joy
consists not in holding, but in being held.
But you come to us, Jesus,
you come to us unwearied
in the power and glory of your Resurrection!
Open again the hearts of your children
to recognize the gift of your love,
that they may throw themselves open to receive,
to receive the gift of life anew from you…
and within this gift of belovedness,
to receive everything else besides.
Enkindle in us our thirst for you,
which burns still in our restlessness,
by revealing to us anew your thirst for us,
that tender, constant and passionate love
which seeks us out only to hold and to embrace,
and in this embrace fills all of life with meaning.
For in this embrace every moment, every instant of life,
intersects with the eternity of God,
for in it, through your opened Heart, dear Jesus,
we can feel the heartbeat of God unceasingly surging,
right here, close to our own, holding us.